Cottage Life: Beyond the Honeybee

Spring 2015: cottagelife.com

Scientists, farmers, and beekeepers are paying attention. Now that the world’s most infamous insecticides are turning up in lakes, you should too.

“If you’ve seen a cornfield in Canada, you’ve witnessed ground zero for the insecticides that are making global headlines. They are used on almost every corn and canola plant in this country, half of the soybeans, and over 140 different crops around the world. They’re called “neonicotinoids,” and if you’ve heard of them, it’s likely through their link to honeybee deaths. But honeybees are just one part of a complex ecosystem that also includes 800 species of native been in Canada alone, countless other insects, and the birds and fish that rely on those insects for food.”

Read “Beyond the Honeybee[pdf]” here.

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Cottage Life: How the Nest was Done

May 2013: cottagelife.com

When our cottage neighbours decide to build something new, we usually know about it, but we may not be aware of the avian real estate development that happens every spring. If you have ever seen a bird fly by with a twig in its mouth, you have witnessed a small part of a big undertaking.

This story explores the nesting habits of nine easily identified bird species including Ruby-throated hummingbirds, Grey jays and Belted kingfishers. Thanks to Byron Eggenschwiler, the art is beautiful.

Download the article [pdf] to find out who uses spider webs, caterpillar cocoons and grouse feathers to build a nest.

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up here: Arthur Moffatt

May 2012: In a most dreadful sort of paradise.

When Arthur Moffatt set off for the Barrenlands in 1955, he envisioned a land of plenty. He was plenty wrong.

“Arthur Moffatt had experience on northern rivers like Ontario’s Albany, which he’d paddled alone at age 17 and subsequently guided several trips on, but this Dubawnt odyssey was much more ambitious. Privately, he wondered if his group was up to the challenge.”

This story captures some of the history of the Moffatt expedition [pdf] on Nunavut’s Dubawnt River.

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Cottage Life: DIY Maple Syrup

April 2012: A Very Sappy Story.  A sticky tale of Do-it-Yourself (DIY) maple syrup.

I thought that making my own maple syrup would be easy and romantic.  I would tap that gorgeous old maple and boil it down. How hard could it be? Read about the mess I made and the results in this issue of Cottage Life magazine.

It’s a hot and sticky world in “A Very Sappy Story.” [pdf]

up here: What I Learned at Bush U

September, 2011: Teaching looks a lot like learning at Dechinta Bush University, Blachford Lake, NWT.

“It was June 2010, and we – a group of 30-odd students, instructors, elders, volunteers and children – were entering the second week of a three week pilot semester at the North’s brand new university: the Dechinta Bush University Centre for Research and Learning. This isn’t any old campus. The school is located at Blachford Lake Lodge, 25 minutes east of Yellowknife by float plane on the traditional territory of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation.”

Read the story: What I Learned at Bush U [pdf]

To visit up here magazine’s video about Dechinta, click here.  To learn more about the school, click here.


Back and Beyond

Lake Journal: Back and Beyond

Summer 2011: Back and Beyond. A wilderness story.

Five friends and I completed a 54-day canoe expedition on Nunavut’s Back River in the summer of 2005. I was ready to be tested, but I never imagined the combination of grief, beauty and disaster that would push me to the limit and leave me with a new understanding of the wild.

I completed this essay about the journey at the Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism Program during the summer of 2010. It’s called Back and Beyond and was published in Lake Journal.

Read Back and Beyond [pdf]